While our site is still in the midst of being completely redesigned, and we have slowed down considerably during this time, I thought I should still give folks a chance to wrap their heads around my experience with Final Fantasy XIV. Especially before they ran out and laid down money on yet another MMO with the early release looming. In fact, I’m really not going to edit this, I just want to get the word out.
First, I will say that I have no ill will towards Square Enix. None. In fact, I know little about them, except that they are responsible for a lot of the great RPGs. I’ve played a few, but I’ve never been much of a FF fan. I do feel, though, that the public should be informed about this game, especially the fact that it is nothing like other MMORPGs. There are some really archaic features here boys and girls.
Before I get into the mechanics (or lack thereof) and gameplay, I would like to say that I was shocked to find that quite a few Final Fantasy XI players are boycotting this game. I’m still not even really sure as to why, as I didn’t play XI, but I can tell you this. One of my guildies of many years has been talking about this game since it’s announcement. And even before that about how he flunked out of college because of XI. Knowing all of this, I expected that if anyone was going to play this particular game, it would be he. Well, he got into the beta, and kept saying how much he loved it, though everyone else we knew was going through a living hell. And then, something happened…
About a week into beta, I called him, expecting to hear more about how great this grinder was. I was shocked when he told me that he wasn’t going to play, and that many of the players he knew from the golden days of XI weren’t either. Again, I’m not really sure, this is the politics of XI players, but I do find it interesting.
I will say that the game is beautiful, the character animations are amazing, and there are some new and interesting features. I can see where Square Enix has put a lot of work into the game. That being said, let’s get to the nitty gritty.
Any fan boys who wish to blast me for wanting something similar to WoW would do well to read anything I’ve written in the past. I am not a fan of Blizzard, I was one of the first people claiming that AoC was a failure shortly after launch (though it’s an amazing game today), and I would be the first to play the original EverQuest over just about anything out today. It just so happens that I find the implementation of this game utter garbage.
I'm not going to go into bugs. Every game has those. I'm not even going to go into the fact that combat is as slow as you can get before you are turn-based. This is all about the implementation and UI of the game. Hell, I will only bring up the fact that there is no auction house without 14 paragraphs bitching about it. Wait, did mention you have no idea who NPCs are or who has quests? Or that there are no tutorials and that you are expected to be a FF expert upon jumping into the game? Sorry, off track again.
If you want something similar to WoW, Lotro, Warhammer, etc. then I would highly suggest that you do not buy this game. This game will only make you want to throw your monitor out the window if this is what you are looking for. And it’s not due to anything save design.
I will give you an example (and I haven’t played in a few weeks, things could have changed). Let’s say you want to form a party with your friends and you want to go slay some monsters. We, to start any kind of /invite sluttyhunter doesn’t work. No, sluttyhunter has to be standing within a few feet of you to invite them to the party, as well as a linkshell for that matter. Don’t get me started on linkshells. This is the most completely retarded idea in MMO history, which Is another example of why Square Enix is afraid to let go of old ideas
On the flip side, if you are looking for a deep game that is streamlined, has plenty of quests, monsters galore, and is hardcore, then don’t play this game. This game has none of that (at least in beta), except perhaps hardcore, and apparently their definition of hardcore is arcane. Grind 1200x monsters for 16 hours and maybe you’ll make some progress. The problem? There aren’t any f**king monsters. Mobs are sporadic at best. This beta basically comprised of 10,000 people running around like mad trying to find mobs in a huge open space.
I’ve been playing MMOs for more than 10 years, don’t give me this “Well, there are too many people in beta and they are killing them all.” No. There are no mobs. Ask anyone who has played this game in beta. They just aren’t there.
You’ll have to forgive me. I enjoy difficulty, and the “old way,” but also don’t think that I want to run around for 2 hours to find one Crusty Crab Gobbler.
Sure, this might change with release, but I seriously doubt it. From what I’ve seen in this near-release beta, we’re looking at another Aion. An Asian company who thinks they know best, and they are going to tank in the Western MMO market. Hard. Why? Because it’s two completely different cultures.
In the West, we do not indulge in self torture. We also don’t like to be told what, how, or when we can play. Oh that’s right, you have heard about that? You can only play one hour a day in this game before racking up an xp penalty. After 4 hours you hit zero.
And good luck on them changing that any time soon, because so far (unless there has been an announcement I missed) Asian and American players will be on the same servers.
Still not scared? Are you a raider? Then move to Japan. They will have a slight ms lead over you on when a monster spawns, so if you think your guild… er sorry linkshell.. is going to get those kills, think again. This was a big problem in Final Fantasy XI. All of the Asian guilds owned because they had the drop being that the servers were in Japan.
In fact, the only reason this game will continue is because XI players will be on board and the Asian market will go crazy over it, but even those may not be playing (see my previous statement).
So back to the interface. Why is all of this presented in this fashion? I can only guess it’s been rushed. They want to get the game out before Cataclysm and Star Wars, and it’s just a rushed project. As we’ve seen, inviting someone to group is painful, and I didn’t even bring up the levels of menus you have to go through to do this. And this is with nearly everything.
This game was designed for joystick, and SE, can’t seem to understand that we use a gorram mouse and keyboard, and while I’m at it let me address them directly. We’ve been doing it for 8+ years, jackasses.
I am amazed at the shortcuts taken in developing this AAA+ title. And I know plenty of developers. I know what goes into this.
Want anything example? I can give you several. All just as painful as the last.
Picking up quests: Holy cow, do we really need to click 1700 times to pick up one quest. Do we really need to removed the completed ones MANUALLY from our log to pick up a new one? Yes, folks, once you complete a quest, you have to manually trade it out and remove it from your quest log to pick up more.
Talking to NPCs: First, another 1700 clicks. Last, if you want to just run away from them, forget it, you are in the SE tractor beam of death. Be prepared to smash ESC repeatedly to be able to leave, or go through all the menus. These are all the pointless menus you have to use to talk to them and purchase, also.
Basically there are too many menu choices and clicks that are redundant. They really aren’t needed. I should be able to click on someone and get a quest, not have to painfully go through three sub menus just to say Hi.
And speaking of questing, FFXIV has made a revolutionary step forward in questing. Are you ready for this?
<sarcasm>You get 8 quests in your log! That’s gotta beat the competition, hands down. </sarcasm>
Combine that with manual removal process, and the questing system is just a frustrating mess.
Still not scared away? How about the fact that you cannot do anything in this game unless you are out of combat mode. And to get out of it, you have to press another button. Another needless step, especially that because of this you are in combat nearly 90% of the time.
Another feature that millions of dollars couldn’t provide. I swear Square Enix is developing a game that is meant to punish people. How the hell could anyone enjoy any of this?
And last but not least, speaking of millions of dollars. This game has multiple classes one one character. This means that you can be all of the classes in the game. This sounds great at first, except, get this: The game will not change your spells or action bars for you. You have to use long and tedious macros (taking up more bar space) for each class. Why couldn’t an expensive game like this provide such a feature, but a game such as Runes of Magic could?
What have I learned from all of this? That Square Enix hasn’t learned from years and years of MMO evolution and they hate their player base. I have also learned that they have no interested in luring new players to their MMO and that they are not afraid to alienate the old ones.
Long story boring, this game is built on UI and interaction that is nearly 10+ years old and as frustrating as watching reruns of Lost in Mandarin.
If WoW (or any other f**king MMO on the planet for that matter) was a nice relaxing massage by (insert porn star) with a happy ending, Final Fantasy XIV is stabbing your eye out with a rusty screw after inhaling shards of glass through the exhaust pipe of your father’s Lincoln Mercury.
Yes, I know quite a few of you right now are saying things like, "He's crazy." or "What does he know?" I will remind everyone that these are the same people who said "AoC is the next big thing," and "He's a wow fanboy." Only time will tell.
Have fun, and if you pre-ordered this game. I’m sorry. I truly am.
Love and Kisses,
The Angry Guild Leader